It would appear that good things and indeed quite often great things, can come to those who wait. Once upon a time in 1992, Stevie Wonder told the British soul singer Omar that they would one day work together. Some 14 tears later, that day arrived and they recorded Stevie’s Feeling You in London for Omar’s Sing if you want it album. Since then, Omar has made quite a marvelous habit of collaborating with other outstanding artists.
His latest long player The Man features guest appearances from The Scratch Professor and Soul II Soul’s vocalist, Caron Wheeler. But when I asked him of what exact highlight he has from all the other acts he’s been lucky enough to work with, he spoke about his time with the late, but very great Syreeta Wright. “she was my favourite female singer. When I heard her sing the song that I had written for us, I burst into tears.”
His touring schedule at the moment reads like a world travel mag. But during down time off the road, he cooks up an old family favourite. A Jamaican dish called Stew Chicken. If you need some Caribbean spice in your life, then we highly recommend it!
10 pieces of skinned chicken. Divide that up how you will between leg,
thigh and breast
The juice of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon salt
1 decent chicken stock cube
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
100 ml of sunflower oil
3 thinly sliced spring onions
2 chopped mid sized onions
1 chopped Scotch bonnet chilli. Make sure to remove the seeds
2 cloves of minced garlic
1 red pepper, seeds removed, chopped
1 green pepper seeds removed, chopped
1 heaped tablespoon of butter
Cooked Basmati rice, to serve
Drop the chicken pieces in a big salad bowl and smother it in the
lemon juice. Then sprinkle with the salt, chicken stock cube and black
pepper. Using your hands, rub the seasonings in to give the meat a
good flavour, then cover and leave it in the fridge for 30
minutes minimum or overnight, if you have time. Heat the vegetable oil in a
large, deep flameproof casserole with a lid until really hot.
Remove the chicken from the seasoning, reserving the seasoning mix.
Add a few pieces of chicken to the oil and fry gently for about 5
minutes on each side until the chicken is browned. Don’t overcrowd the
pan as they won’t cook colour properly.
With a slotted spoon, remove the chicken from the casserole and repeat
with the remaining chicken pieces. Carefully pour out most of the oil,
leaving just 2 spoonfuls in the casserole.
Add the spring onions, onions, chilli, garlic and peppers and stir
briefly to take out the crunch from them. Return the chicken to the
casserole with any reserved seasoning mixture. Pour in a half a litre
of water, add the butter, bring to the boil and then reduce the heat.
Cover and simmer for 15 minutes until the liquid is reduced to a rich
sauce and the chicken is cooked through.
Omar plays The Sugar Club on March 28th